Tag Archives: user research

Effective Toolmaking: Shifting the Mindset Away from that of “Expert”

By | April 7, 2021

The beauty of struggling with words and concepts in order to best articulate them in a manner that reflects one’s lived experience in practice is that one remains true to one’s search for songs of magic regardless of the themes of introspection. This realization has freed me from various self imposed constraints on my use… Read More »

Less Technologically Advanced Societies are not necessarily backward or primitive: Assume at your own risk

By | December 26, 2019

This illustration by Jeroen Meijer of Jam Visueldenken of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, was created for our team during a workshop to capture the insights from a feasibility study on agritech we had completed for the Dutch government’s sustainable agricultural value chain development at Wageningen University’s Economic Research unit back in mid 2013. I’m pulling it… Read More »

Lessons from African Fintech for the Gig Economy

By | December 20, 2018

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to share my research on the past decade of mobile ecosystem development across the African continent with Dr. Antti Saarnio, founder of Zippie; co-founder of Jolla (developers of the Sailfish OS, among other things). “We want to test our product first and foremost in Africa because there is… Read More »

Household energy consumption behaviour in East Africa: Lighting & Conclusion (3 of 3 Parts)

By | January 29, 2018

  The following is extracted from a six month study during 2012 on household energy consumption behaviour in rural Kenya and Rwanda among the lower income demographic, that led to an understanding of some of barriers hampering the sales of client’s solar products in this market. This 3rd and final part will focus on fuel… Read More »

Frame Insights: Going back to first principles in the Innovation Planning Process

By | May 16, 2017

After conducting research, we need to bring structure to what has been found and learned. We sort, cluster, and organize the data gathered and begin to find important patterns. We analyze contextual data and view patterns that point to untapped market opportunities or niches. Finding insights and patterns that repeatedly emerge from multiple analyses of… Read More »

The importance of user agency for good design in the humanitarian and development context

By | April 21, 2017

This is a topic that has come up so often on Twitter that I thought to write it out once and for all. A link would be ever so much easier to argue with than to make the case for recognizing the agency of the end user – whether an intended customer or beneficiary –… Read More »

Innovation, Ingenuity and Opportunity under Conditions of Scarcity (Download PDF)

By | January 26, 2017

In July 2009, I was inspired by working in the Research wing of the Aalto University’s Design Factory in Espoo, Finland, to launch a group blog called REculture: Exploring the post-consumption economy of repair, reuse, repurpose and recycle by informal businesses at the Base of the Pyramid*. Within a year, this research interest evolved into… Read More »

Seasonality as an element of contextual planning for emerging consumer markets

By | September 6, 2016

Growing up as a Hindu expat in multicultural ‘West Malaysia’ of the 1970s and 80s, it was a matter of course that every festival would be a big occasion. We had Christmas in December, and Chinese New Year soon after, to be followed by Hari Raya (Eid) and Deepawali – each of them deserving of… Read More »

Borderland Biashara: Mapping the Cross Border, National and Regional Trade in the East African Informal Economy

By | June 10, 2016

And, we’re back! With apologies for the long delay in posting on the blog, we’d been busy wrapping up our groundbreaking design research for development programming project for Trade Mark East Africa this past month or so. As you can imagine, the last few weeks of any project suck all the bandwidth out and leave… Read More »

Customer-Centric Business Model Design for Financial Inclusion

By | October 5, 2015

The Challenge Digital financial services (DFS) seek to bridge the chasm between the structures, policies and institutions of the formal economy, and the cash intensive informal and rural economy. Current day approaches tend to take the perspective of the service providers when assessing the market opportunity and the needs of the intended customers. And so… Read More »